The American Lung Association is beginning a push for smoke-free college campuses in Illinois. Illinois has 150 campuses of colleges, universities and trade schools, and 11 are tobacco-free. “A tobacco-free campus would mean that all of the school grounds are prohibited from having individuals smoke on school grounds, indoor and outdoor,” says Harold Wimmer, president of the Lung Association for Illinois.
He says College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn is wrestling with the question of whether people can smoke inside their cars in the parking lot.
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Wimmer says if smoking is restricted, people will smoke less, or not at all. He says the college-age population, 18-25, smokes at a lightly higher rate than the overall adult population.
Keenan Kassar, a University of Illinois sophomore advocating a ban, says an advisory referendum passed overwhelmingly. “There hasn’t been much resistance. I expected that people would write letters to the editor, you know, really rise up and try to voice against this whole thing, but that hasn’t happened,” he said.
As envisioned by the Lung Association, anyone wishing to smoke on a smoke-free campus – student, faculty, staff or visitor – would have to leave school property. Inasmuch as some campuses are quite large, it would be difficult to get to a place where one could smoke without violating the ban.
In addition to the institutions that have adopted some-free campus restrictions, another dozen are considering them.